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Reagan and the Iran Contra Scandal: Do you think his actions further destabilized our position in the middle east? How about in South America?

The arms-for-hostages proposal divided the administration. Longtime policy adversaries Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and Secretary of State George Shultz opposed the deal, but Reagan, McFarlane and CIA director William Casey supported it. With the backing of the president, the plan progressed. By the time the sales were discovered, more than 1,500 missiles had been shipped to Iran. Three hostages had been released, only to be replaced with three more, in what Secretary of State George Shultz called "a hostage bazaar."

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Asked by stacymomof2 at 2:32 PM on Mar. 20, 2009 in Politics & Current Events

Level 23 (18,390 Credits)
Answers (18)
  • When the Lebanese newspaper "Al-Shiraa" printed an exposé on the clandestine activities in November 1986, Reagan went on television and vehemently denied that any such operation had occurred. He retracted the statement a week later, insisting that the sale of weapons had not been an arms-for-hostages deal. Despite the fact that Reagan defended the actions by virtue of their good intentions, his honesty was doubted. Polls showed that only 14 percent of Americans believed the president when he said he had not traded arms for hostages.

    Answer by stacymomof2 at 2:33 PM on Mar. 20, 2009

  • While probing the question of the arms-for-hostages deal, Attorney General Edwin Meese discovered that only $12 million of the $30 million the Iranians reportedly paid had reached government coffers. Then-unknown Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the National Security Council explained the discrepancy: he had been diverting funds from the arms sales to the Contras, with the full knowledge of National Security Adviser Admiral John Poindexter and with the unspoken blessing, he assumed, of President Reagan.

    Answer by stacymomof2 at 2:33 PM on Mar. 20, 2009


    Here is the link--it has a very quick, accurate summary.

    Answer by stacymomof2 at 2:35 PM on Mar. 20, 2009

  • I remember this scandal (it was my first real interest in public affairs) and I think it had a bad destabilizing effect in the middle east, setting up dictatorships with money and power without considering future effects on our country. Also, sending the geurillas in South America money to undermine their government (weather we like it or not) is illegal, basically participating in a war with our money without telling the public or voting on it.

    I think these actions define Reagan's presidency and there is no excuse for his illegal (and Unconstitutional) activities.

    Answer by stacymomof2 at 2:53 PM on Mar. 20, 2009

  • Iran-Contra was nothing more than another in a long line of "deals" the country has done since it was founded. Our entire foreign policy for the last 230 years has revolved around propping up whatever government best suits our own personal needs, up to and including invading entire nations for trumped up reasons just so we can get leverage in trade (and before some nutjob wants to go off on an Iraq rant - I'm referring to the Philippines). The only difference now is it's harder to hide the real reasons we do things. I-C is the same scenario we've done dozens of times before, the only difference was this time we had satellite news coverage. It didn't make things any more or less stable than anything Kennedy, either Roosevelt, Wilson or a dozen other presidents did.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 3:06 PM on Mar. 20, 2009

  • Very Well Said NotPanicking.

    Answer by grlygrlz2 at 3:25 PM on Mar. 20, 2009

  • While I can agree with some of what you are saying, I guess I was looking for a comment more specific to these particular events. Maybe it's just old history and nobody cares! lol

    Answer by stacymomof2 at 3:35 PM on Mar. 20, 2009

  • more specific to these particular events

    That's just it - those specific events were no better or worse in regards to our foreign relations than every other shady deal that happened before and since. Whatever damage it did in one place, it improved relations somewhere else. Whatever damage was done when it was outed in a third place, it improved them in a 4th.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 4:00 PM on Mar. 20, 2009

  • Well, what I mean is the illegal part of it, and the lying part of it, in order to advance an agenda very specific to Reagan and a few in his administration, not even all of his cronies agreed. And for sure the American public didn't agree, and after all, they work for us. As far as predicting the outcome, I doubt it can be done with any certainty (as proven by the fact that the 3 hostages that they returned were replaced immediately by three others.)

    I do think these specific events are some of the most underhanded and appalling in the history of the US.

    Answer by stacymomof2 at 4:22 PM on Mar. 20, 2009

  • Yes, and it has brought about our current problems. He TRAINED Osama Bin Laden for crying out loud! Then abandoned his people for fear of being convicted

    Answer by sweet-a-kins at 6:30 PM on Mar. 20, 2009

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